12 April 2017

Hi There? Back in What Day? Can You Bake a Pie? Explain a Movie? How Do You Relax?

I thought I'd add these wise words from Marge Simpson.
I got one of those emails asking for money for some worthy cause and it began as follows: “hi there.” I deleted it. They weren’t going to get any money from me anyway as I’ve been charitable enough lately as it is, but usually I hear those letters out. But “hi there” is a deal breaker. I’d literally prefer: “dear human” or “shmuck” or “anonymous person who may have some dough you can send us.” Just not “hi there.” I once worked with a person who “hi there'd" everyone. It was disconcerting. Hi where? Here? Maybe you respond with “and hi over there.”

So you’re probably wondering what kind of a person gets his panties in a bunch over “hi there.” There’s no end to what will irritate me. Like “back in my day.” You had a “day”? Just the one? Or are you referring to a time period? Why isn’t this your “day”? Did I have a “day” too?  I must have missed it. Maybe its coming up. There’s another version of that: “back in the day.” When was “the day.”? Is this not “the day” too? Ya know what I do like? Halcyon days. I want some more of them. I’ve had some and they’re great. I had them back in “my day” which coincided with “the day.” Yeah, back then.

Of course you hear a lot about “the good old days.” White conservative men just love the “good old days.” For many of them those were their “salad days.” What made them great for old white guys was that they were undisputed kings. Women, African Americans, gays, people with disabilities, and other people of color were second class citizens and didn’t kick up a fuss about it — or not much of one anyway. I would love to have a time machine and travel back in time visiting various epochs but as the saying goes: “the past would be a great place to visit but I’d hate to live there.” Ain’t that the truth. Depending upon how far back and where you went you could be dealing with a lot of really awful odors. Showers and baths have not always been readily available nor thought to be healthy. Washers and dryers have not been plentiful until recently, not to mention laundromats. Many rivers and streams, and lakes in urban areas served as sewers and received industrial waste. And of course to spend a lot of time, for example in the US before the 1990s, meant inhaling a helluva lot of second hand tobacco smoke.

Can I share something that has absolutely baffled me my whole life? Well I’m going to anyway. There’s a line from the song Anything You Can Do from the musical Annie Get Your Gun that is as follows:
[Frank:] I can do most anything!
[Annie:] Can you bake a pie?
[Frank:] No.!
[Annie:] Neither can I!
For the whole song the two characters have been asserting that they are superior to the other at doing this or that. This includes such skills as killing a bird and speaking softly (frankly I’m not impressed) then suddenly Annie asks Frank if he can bake a pie. Fortunately for her he can’t. Because she can’t either. So why did she ask? What if he’d said, “why yes, I bake delicious pies.” Then suddenly she’s screwed. That is, unless she lies. Indeed, why doesn’t Frank lie? Because if Annie in fact could bake…You see what I mean? Ludicrous. Yet there it is in the middle of a hokey song from a hokey musical that I wouldn’t watch anyway so what do I care?

Recently on tweeter a well known gentleman asked if someone could please explain the last ten minutes of the recent film, Personal Shopper. I can’t for the life of me understand why someone would want a movie they just watched “explained.” That’s something I need “explained” to me. I saw Personal Shopper two weeks ago and was mystified by the last ten minutes. I was also enchanted, beguiled and amused by it. Someone “explaining” it would be akin to someone telling me why the peach I just ate tasted so good. Saturday night I finally saw Take Shelter 2011 a film which also ends mysteriously. If someone tried to explain it to me I’d sock ‘em in the jaw. Math problems should be explained, new laws need to be explained, computer features have to be explained, but art should be left to wonder at. To savor. To consider. To ponder. When it comes to art, being bemused is one of the most wonderful states I can imagine.

I’m off this week (actually most who know me would contend I’m a little off every week). I love vacations. But they don’t always make me happy. I don’t know how to just enjoy down time. I always feel like I should be doing something. Idling about doing this that and the other, taking naps, scrolling through the internet, feels like I’m wasting valuable time. I’ve got a damn novel to finish. Plenty of reading I can be doing. Languages to study. I get frustrated first with not “achieving” anything, then for being frustrated at being frustrated. I don’t know if it’s a cycle but it is vicious.

I see my psychiatrist today. I’ll probably talk about my difficulty accepting relaxing. Maybe I wont. I never know what I’m going to talk about besides of course updates on my “mental state.” I’m sure we’ll talk meds today. He had me on lamictal and as we were increasing the dose (this med was going to solve everything, by god) I developed an allergic reaction in the form of body wide rash that itched like hell. The rash is finally under control and fading but now the question becomes what — if anything — will replace the lamictal? I’m rooting for something without side effects. Such things do exist. Goodness knows I’ve experienced enough side effects over the past few decades. Lamictal rash effects only 5% of all patients who try it. Aren’t I special?

Hey what am I talking about? I ran nine miles today, finished a poem, finished this blog post, did some chores around the house and will get my head shrunk. This’ll have been a productive day. Tomorrow — the novel.

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